We grew up to the sound of classical Neapolitan music. We enjoy it also when its “classical” inclination takes on a different tone. Curious and intrigued by the title, my friend Fabio Pesce and I discovered, through Giosi Cincotti’s project, a new way of revisiting the classical Neapolitan tunes.
NEAPOLIS IN FABULA is a compilation of the “usual” Neapolitan music, which you don’t expect and which startles. A journey through jazz, imaginary, and tradition which very naturally overflows into the fairytales that redefine the form and meaning of ancient stories. The cover is essential, with no frills, and opening the package the cd reminds you of an old vinyl record, which looks like an outdated 45rpm, as to emphasize the elusive bind between past and present. The cd opens with a medley which immediately reveals part of its musical intention: “Uocchie c’arraggiunate” (Falcone, Fieni e Falvo, 1904), “‘O marenariello” (Ottaviano-Gambardella, 1893), “Canzone marenara” (Donizetti, 1835), “Luna nova” (Di Giacomo-Costa, 1887). The arrangement begins with an acoustic piano, it sounds like a baby grand Yamaha C3, its sound slightly dull. After just a few lines double bass and voice enter, with a very good balance, the voice lovely, absorbed as it is in the music. This medley pleasantly surprises in not being overly jazzy nor trite. Remarkable the female voice, it blends well in the piece, never leading , but allowing the other instruments to alternate; the piano, always starring, is the lead line of whole medley. The second piece is intriguing, very different from what we are used to hearing, “‘E spingole frangese” (Di Giacomo-De Leva – 1888) has a jazz to it that slips into “The Simpsons” theme, and ends in a blues rhythm. Through this we enter into the spirit of the cd, the sound becomes enveloping. And so “A Vucchella” (D’Annunzio-Tosti 1892) (“The Lips”) become those of Snow White waiting for her Prince Charming with “Someday my prince will come” (a piece already bestowed to Miles Davis’ jazz) and then, with “Reginella”, turns into “When you wish upon a star” (from Disney’s Pinocchio), this time with a somewhat less happy ending. But the fusion sketched out by Giosi Cincotti (his are the musical arrangement and project) continues to amaze with “A Canzone appassiunata” (E. A. Mario – 1922) that weaves in with a Piazzolla tango, “Maddalena” (the only more recent piece) which becomes jazz, and “Michelemmà” that flows into a middle-eastern sound following the lyrics of the unknown author “the turks go to get some rest”. A turning point in the magic that permeates the whole work is è “La Pizzica a Santu Paulo”, an extremely original and involving fusion of tarantella and jazz.
It is peculiar that a milestone such as “Voce ‘e notte” (Nicolardi-De Curtis) remains intact, as to emphasize its status of “untouchable”. The last piece, “Reginella”, is among the most surprising because of the exquisite blending of voice and piano: neither prevails; the arrangement is simple and the pauses pleasantly enhance the before and after. “Music is feeling” says Giobbe Covatta in his presentation of the CD, and after listening to it we totally agree. The whole CD is supported by an outstanding theatrical experience, and the result is a score that goes beyond a studio recording, a sound that blends art, poetry and magic in a multimedial concept that seems to be restrained by the recording on CD. Giosi Cincotti very skilfully revised music and arrangements, while the theatrical piece was supervised by Marcello d’Orta (writer, author of “Io speriamo che me la cavo”, “Dio ci ha creato gratis” and many others). Mena Cacciapuoti’s voice, in her clear and clean Neapolitan dialect, which at moments takes on warm ethnic inflections, never overrides the limits. The easy way in which the musicians interact originates a work that enhances them as a group and not as solos: Marco De Tilla – double bass, Michele Maione – percussions, Giosi Cincotti – piano, Marzouk Mejri and Emidio Ausiello – percussions, Pericle Odierna- winds, Enzo Grimaldi – accordion. We noticed that good outboards were used. Commendable the choice of the voice ambient, free from echoes and delays, as unfortunately often happens in the recording of Neapolitan music.
NEAPOLIS IN FABULA
1. Medley: uocchie c’arraggiunate (Falcone Fieni – Falvo)
‘o Marenariello (Ottaviano – Gambardella)
canzone Marenara (Donizetti) Luna nova (Di Giacomo – Costa)
2. ‘E spingole frangese (Di Giacomo – De Leva)
3. Canzone appassiunata (E.A. Mario)
4. Voce ‘e notte (Nicolardi – De Curtis)
5. Maddalena (Carlo Faiello)
6. Michelemmà (rielab. Giosi Cincotti)
7. ‘A Vucchella (D’Annunzio – Tosti)
8. Pizzica a Santu Paulo (rielab. Giosi Cincotti)
9. Reginella (Bovio – Lama)
You can order the CD of Neapolis in FABULA directly to this link:
Italian to English translation: Umberto del Giudice